Oricon 2010 Rankings: AKB48 and Arashi control Top 10 singles chart

Oricon is beginning to release its cumulative sales data for 2010. So far, it has announced the Top 50 in singles and albums, as well as the Top 5 in total sales. As predicted, the singles rankings were dominated by AKB48 and Arashi, who together held all of the Top 10 spots.

This is the first time in the ranking’s history that the Top 10 has been occupied by just two artists. Before this, the record was five artists in the Top 10, which happened in 1989 with Princess Princess, Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi, Hikaru Genji, Wink, and Shizuka Kudo.

AKB48 had the top 2 singles with "Beginner" and "Heavy Rotation." They are only the third female artist to hold the top 2 singles of the year, a feat previously accomplished by Princess Princess in 1989 and Pink Lady in 1978.

Arashi, who had the top 2 singles in 2008 and the top 3 singles in 2009, settled for taking 6 of the top 10 spots this year.

Top 50 Singles:

1. Beginner – AKB48 – 954,283

2. Heavy Rotation – AKB48 – 713,275

3.Troublemaker – Arashi – 698,542

4.Monster – Arashi – 696,022

5. Ponytail to Chouchou – AKB48 – 659,959

6. Hatenai Sora – Arashi – 656,343

7. Love Rainbow – Arashi – 620,057

8. Chance no Junban – AKB48 – 596,769

9. Dear Snow – Arashi – 591,207

10. To be free – Arashi – 516,142

NMB48 to begin theater performances on January 1

Last month, the Osaka-based management agency Yoshimoto Kogyo announced that it was closing its "base Yoshimoto" theater on December 3 and moving to a new location next year. It has now been revealed that the old theater is being renamed the "NMB48 Theater," and idol group NMB48 will begin regular performances there on January 1.

As the newest group in the AKB48 family, NMB48 made their public debut on October 9. The group currently has 25 members ranging in age from 12 to 18, with an average age of 14.9 years old.

According to NMB48’s official website, their first show on January 1 will be a production of "Dareka no Tame ni," originally performed as AKB48’s Team A 3rd Stage from August 2006 to January 2007.

Masaki Suda and AKB48 members to join “Koukou Debut” cast

The main cast of the "Koukou Debut" ("High School Debut") movie adaptation was unveiled on Saturday. It was already known in September that the film would star Junpei Mizobata (21) and fashion model Ito Ono (15), but their supporting cast members were not officially announced until now.

Based on Kazune Kawahara’s shoujo manga of the same name, the movie tells the story of a young girl named Haruna (Ono) who devoted all of her time to softball during junior high, but decides to change her image and finally have a love life upon entering high school. Mizobata plays an upperclassman named Yoh, one of the most popular boys at the school, and a chance encounter leads to him becoming Haruna’s "coach" on becoming attractive. His one condition is that she can’t fall in love with him, but she ultimately fails to keep that promise.

Yoh’s friend Fumiya is being played by Masaki Suda (17) from "Kamen Rider Double," and Yoh’s sister is being played by Rina Aizawa (19). AKB48’s Sae Miyazawa (20) plays Haruna’s friend Mami, while fellow AKB48 member Yuka Masuda (19) takes on the role of Haruna’s softball rival Leona. Rei Okamoto (19) has been cast as Yoh’s ex-girlfriend Makoto.

Last but not least, Yoh’s friend Yui is being played by Yuki Furukawa (22), who launched his show business career this year when he won the judges’ prize in Horipro’s special 50th anniversary actor audition. This will be his first appearance in a movie.

"Koukou Debut" is scheduled for theatrical release in spring 2011.

AKB48′s “Beginner” certified as first million single since 2007

Just before the release of AKB48’s latest single "Beginner" two weeks ago, it was announced that more than 1 million copies were being shipped. On November 10, the Recording Industry Association of Japan officially certified that it has shipped 1 million copies, becoming the group’s first single to reach that milestone.

The last single to achieve a certified million was Masafumi Akikawa’s "Sen no Kaze ni Natte" in August 2007.

"Beginner" already sold approximately 827,000 copies in its first week, setting a new record as a female group. In its second week, the single sold roughly an additional 64,000 copies to put its total sales at around 891,000 copies, as it edges closer to a potential 1 million in actual sales.

Sayaka Akimoto no longer captain of Team K

AKB48 member Sayaka Akimoto (22) declared on Friday’s "AKB48 no All Night Nippon" radio show that she is resigning as captain of Team K. The move is the result of the recent negative publicity surrounding allegations that she is in a relationship with multimedia creator Ouji Hiroi (56), after it was discovered that Hiroi spent the night at her apartment.

Akimoto tearfully apologized for the trouble that the rumors have caused. She explained that she and Hiroi had watched a movie at her apartment, but he fell asleep and she chose not to wake him up.

Fans sent in many supportive messages, saying things such as "There’s no need to quit as captain" and "Isn’t it irresponsible of you to resign? Work hard without running away!" However, Akimoto insisted that she is not running away, and that she intends to start over and work hard towards becoming captain once again.

Akimoto’s replacement has not yet been decided.

Three AKB48 members team-up on new unit called “French Kiss”

Three AKB48 members – Yuki Kashiwagi (18), Aki Takajo (18), and Asuka Kuramochi (20) – are forming a new unit called French Kiss. Their debut single, titled “Zutto Mae Kara,” will be released this fall through record label Avex.

“Zutto Mae Kara” will be used as the new ending theme of the ongoing “Major” anime series, beginning with the July 3 episode. That same day, the song will begin digital distribution through various music sites.

AKB48’s “senbatsu” election names Yuko Oshima #1

AKB48 (pronounced A-K-B-forty-eight, as in English) is an all-female Japanese theater/idol group produced by Yasushi Akimoto. Unlike other idol groups in Japan, AKB48 is theater-based and have their own theater in Akihabara (a district in Tokyo) where they perform once every weekday, and more than once on both Saturday and Sunday. The name derives from a shortened, Romanized representation of ‘Akihabara’.

The results of this year’s “senbatsu” election for AKB48’s next single were announced on Wednesday. In an unexpected outcome, top member Atsuko Maeda (who was #1 last year) had to settle for second place, as Yuko Oshima edged her out to claim the top spot.

Voting started on May 25 and ended on June 8. All members of AKB48, SKE48, and the kenkyuusei teams were eligible for the election. However, only the top 21 members will be featured on the upcoming single (to be released on August 18), while the next 19 members (#22 – #40) will perform the single’s coupling song as the “under girls.”

Maeda was expected to be #1 again, especially after leading on the first day. After the first week, she was ahead of Oshima by about 1,500 votes. However, Oshima surged in the past week to receive a total of 31,448 votes, while Maeda ended at 30,851 votes.

The top 5 members are:

1. Yuko Oshima (31448)
2. Atsuko Maeda (30851)
3. Mariko Shinoda (23139)
4. Tomomi Itano (20513)
5. Mayu Watanabe (20088)

“Sakura Girl” hit for the NEWS as it leads the charts this week with 195,000 copies sold

Boy band NEWS now has a dozen consecutive #1 singles, as their latest song “Sakura Girl” led the charts this week with 195,000 copies sold. UVERworld’s “GOLD” was #2 at 50,000, and they have a similar streak going with a dozen consecutive top ten singles.

ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION’s ranked 3rd with their theme song for the “Solanin” movie, while AKB48 duo Queen & Elizabeth came in at 4th. The only other new single in the top ten was AI’s collaboration with Namie Amuro, which charted at #8.

On the album charts, aiko’s “BABY” led the way at 136,000 in sales. This was roughly twice as much as V6’s “READY?,” which was #2 for the week.

Maaya Sakamoto (#3) and Kumi Koda (#5) were also in the top five with new albums, while Slash and Madonna charted at #7 and #10, respectively.